Many motorists have run over animals on the road and felt bad about it.
The momentary regret can lead to corrective action when motorists come
to realize that roadkill is driving some species to extinction.
Author Don Corrigan, who recently authored American Roadkill: The
Animal Victims of Our Busy Highways, will speak about his book and the million creatures killed daily on highways at an open meeting of the Animal Rights Team on Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. at the Brentwood Community Center.
St. Louis Animal Rights Team is a not-for-profit educational and activist
group formed in 1985. Its goals are to promote lifestyles compatible with
animal rights and to reform U.S. institutions to end animal suffering.
Corrigan’s book is published by McFarland, which is the largest publisher of
popular culture titles in America. Corrigan is a member of the Popular
Culture Association and annually presents papers at its conferences.
In 2022, Corrigan will speak to PCA about “Roadkill and Toxic Masculinity.”
University studies show male drivers are more inclined to swerve and
deliberately kill or injure animals on roads than female motorists.
As a result of his association with PCA, Corrigan has studied the TV and
movie phenomenon of animals becoming anthropomorphic characters,
especially for children’s cinematic fare.
Corrigan asks: “What message does it send to children when we are
wantonly running over the animals they love? They love animal characters
from Slappy Squirrel to Rocky Raccoon to Squirtle the Turtle and Armadillo
Armadillos are the latest species to take it on the chin in a big way in
roadkill accidents in Missouri. The hard-shelled tourists, originally from
Texas, litter rural highways and interstates.
In his new book, Corrigan documents the million animals killed daily on
American roadways. Among the casualties are man’s best friends, canines
and felines, amounting to 5.4 million of the annual roadkill tally.
Is there anybody looking out for the critters that have taken such a beating
in the automobile age which began a century ago? Corrigan documents
many positive developments, among them:
• St. Louis Zoo is doing yeoman work enlisting “citizen scientists” to identify
high casualty frog and turtle crossings that can be remedied.
• St. Louis Kinship Circle is raising awareness of road accidents with pets
and how to avoid such heartbreaking meet-ups with cars.
• Sierra Clubs of the Southeast have championed endangered pumas, as
their numbers have dwindled to a few hundred due to highway carnage.
• Possum Pouch Pickers is another organization in the South that rescues
baby possums from their marsupial mothers mashed on roadways.
•In U.S. states bordering Canada, wildlife groups have organized to save
bears, moose, wolves and coyotes from sad roadway endings.
“The new book, American Roadkill, exposes the often-overlooked scandal
of millions of animals being run over on our country’s roads,” said Bob
Baker, executive director of Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation. “Such
carnage, no doubt, desensitizes our children to the suffering and the deaths
of all living things.
“Fortunately, our legislators in Congress seem to be listening to Corrigan
and other animal advocates,” added Baker. “The recent infrastructure bill
passed includes provisions to protect wildlife by funding ways for wildlife to
be routed around and under thoroughfares to prevent species loss.”
Key animal advocates in St. Louis include members of the Animal Rights
Team, which holds its regular meetings at the Brentwood Community
Center. The presentation at the Jan. 11 meeting is free and open to the
The American Roadkill book signing and presentation at 7 p.m. on Jan. 11
in Brentwood will benefit the Animal Rights Team and its advocacy work on
behalf of animals.
Corrigan is editor emeritus for the Webster-Kirkwood Times, where he has
written on the outdoors and environment for four decades. He is professor
emeritus at Webster University, where he directed student studies for the
school’s Outdoor/Environmental Journalism Certificate.